Good the first. The cinema of Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia curated by Orio Caldiron and Matilde Hochkofler presented at the Casa del Cinema

The presentation of the book “Buona la prima. The cinema of Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia ”(Experimental Center of Cinematography / Sabinae Editions), curated by Orio Caldiron and Matilde Hochkofler.

With O. Caldiron intervened Ruggero Deodato (director and screenwriter), Alberto Anile (journalist, essayist and film critic), Simone Casavecchia (historian and film critic) e Antonello Buffardigrandson of Totò.

Despite an exceptional career, today (and many years ago) few remember Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (1894-1998), the most versatile “craftsman” of yesterday’s Italian cinema. Involved from the beginning in the enthralling futurist experience, with his brother Anton Giulio (1890-1960) gave birth to the Experimental Theater of the Independents and to Bragaglia House of Art. His debut in the cinema took place in 1932 with O the bag or life, with Sergio and Rosetta Tofano, one of the most original films of the first sound, in which you can hear the echoes of the avant-gardes. In his over sixty films – in which he faced all genres, comedy and comic, film-song and adventurous, melodrama and peplum – he acted as a “puppeteer” for an amazing series of timeless: Vittorio De Sica, Anna Magnani, Totò, the De Filippo, Ruggero Ruggeri, Armando Falconi, Alberto Rabagliati, Gino Bechi, Massimo Girotti, Ugo Tognazzi, Silvana Pampanini, Giovanna Ralli, Aldo Fabrizi, Domenico Modugno.

In the first complete monograph, the life and works of “Carletto” Bragaglia relive in the analysis of the individual films, in a precious anthology of his statements and in the memories of many witnesses. At the end of the volume The pit of angels (1937), his great lost film set in the quarries of the Apuan Alps, with Amedeo Nazzari and Luisa Ferida, and reconstructed as a surprising cineromanzo thanks to about sixty very rare photographs.

Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (Frosinone, 8 July 1894 – Rome, 3 January 1998), son of Francesco Bragaglia, general manager of Cines, and younger brother of the director Anton Giulio (1890-1960) and of the character actor Arturo (1893-1962), trained in the theater , to then work as a still photographer, editor, screenwriter and documentary maker. He fights the First World War, where in 1916 he is seriously wounded by a grenade hitting the cannon near which he is. Initially given up for dead, he is then operated on. His spleen, a piece of liver, a kidney and a lung are removed and he is predicted to be no more than six or seven months old. Instead, he will live another eighty-one years, blatantly denying those predictions. At the age of almost forty he directed his first film, that is Either the purse or the life (1932), a rather anomalous work due to the grafts of nonsense close to surrealism, and which tells of a stockbroker who tries in every way to get himself killed in an accident to get the insurance premium and compensate a friend who thinks he is having ruined. CL Bragaglia immediately shows the light hand – but at the same time precise – of the popular narrator, rather inclined to bright tones – and sometimes even comic ones – which, however, avoids falling into self-referential farce and an end in itself. During his thirty-year career as a director he will direct sixty-four films, also working with Totò (1898-1967), to whose rise he contributes with Crazy animals (1939), second film by the great Neapolitan comedian after Stop with your hands! (1937) by Gero Zambuto. He dedicates himself to the comedies of the so-called “white phones” with Crazy with joy (1940) and tackles the film version of I don’t pay you! (1942), directing the three De Filippo brothers, including the great Eduardo (1900-1984), author of the play of the same name from which the film is based.

Two other cornerstones of the filmography of Prince de Curtis follow, namely Totò le Mokò (1949), parody of the French Pepè le Mokò (The Casbah Bandit1937) by Julien Duvivier played by Jean Gabin, e 47 dead speaking (1950), in which the actor, in the role of a very miserly baron willing to go down to hell in order not to whip out a lira, meets Silvana Pampanini.

Among other films we remember I’m not jealous (1933), A bad subject (1933), That old scoundrel (1934), Unripe fruit (1934), The pit of angels (1937), lost film, A sea of ​​troubles (1939), Alessandro, you are great! (1940), An impossible family (1941), lost film, Brute force (1941), The prisoner of Santa Cruz (1941), Bluebeard (1941), Two hearts under seizure (1941), The school of the timid (1941), lost film, If I was honest (1942), Violets in the hair (1942), The bodyguard (1942), Casanova would do so! (1942), Two-part escape (1943), Life is Beautiful (1943), with Anna Magnani pre Rome open city by Roberto Rossellini, They are not superstitious … but! (1943), My wife’s boyfriend (1943), Whole life in twenty-four hours (1943), Back to Sorrento (1945), The mistake of being alive (1945), The white primrose (1946), Luna Hotel, room 34 (1946), Hello, who is speaking? (1946), The other one (1947), The red hawk (1949), Totò is looking for a wife (1950), The six wives of Bluebeard (1950), Figaro here, Figaro there (1950), A devilish brunette (1951), The secret of the three points (1952), Don Lorenzo (1952), With the sword (1952), Orient Express (1954), The courtesan of Babylon (1954), The golden hawk (1955), Lazzarella (1957), with Domenico Modugno pre To fly (Sanremo 1958), The liberated Jerusalem (1957), The sword and the cross (1958), Me, mammeta and you (1958), Tuppe, tuppe Marescia ‘! (1958, also known by the title Is Marshal allowed?), Corporal of the day (1958), The maids (1959), Hannibal (1959), directed with Edgar G. Ulmer, The loves of Hercules (1960), The virgins of Rome (1961), directed together with Vittorio Cottafavi, Pasta in the desert (1961), Ursus in the valley of the lions (1961), The 4 monks (1962), The Four Musketeers (1963). In the second half of the 1950s he also directed some television comedies in the Rai studios in Rome, including The petrified forest (1957). His last work, in 1964, was a documentary on the island of Capri, which he loved very much.

Very prolific director CL Bragaglia brought love for nonsense and surreal to Italian cinema, and work modules of an efficiency type that, already quite widespread in other countries, were at the time unknown in Italy, where cinema still had artisan connotations. . In 1994, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, he attended the retrospective that was dedicated to him at the Locarno Film Festival.

Good the first. The cinema of Carlo Ludovico Bragagliaedited by Orio Caldiron and Matilde Hochkofler, published by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Rome) with Edizioni Sabinae (Rome) in the “Grande Cinema” series, is available in bookstores and online from October 2022

Good the first. The cinema of Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia curated by Orio Caldiron and Matilde Hochkofler presented at the Casa del Cinema